Can I Run My Dishwasher If My Sink Is Clogged? (Quick Easy Fix)


While doing the dishes, there is very little that is worse than a clogged sink.

Ranging from food waste to even hair, there are many things that can cause a blockage to your sink pipes, affecting your sink and dishwasher drainage by allowing dirty water to stand in it. When this happens, your kitchen becomes a home to dirty dishes and nasty smells, making your cleanup even harder.

Many people undergoing this predicament wonder if they can run their dishwashers with a clogged sink. As dishwashers usually drain in your disposal or a sink, if they are blocked, chances are that your dishwasher will be unable to drain properly.

Blocked drains and garbage disposals are common household problems, so don’t worry. Here are some ideas you can try to help solve this dilemma.

Let’s check it out!

Why is my dishwasher backing up into my sink?

There are many common reasons that can lead to your dishwasher backing-up dirty water into your sink, the simplest being a clogged sink. Here is a quick list:

  • Clogged Sink

Choked sinks can be dealt with fairly easily. They are caused by accumulating deposits of fat, grease, as well as starchy kitchen items such as potatoes, rice, pasta, or even bread that get stuck in tiny crevices, hindering water flow. Moreover, fibrous substances such as corn silk and asparagus also tend to get stuck around the movable parts of the disposal.

  • Blockage in Garbage Disposal or Dishwasher

Your dishwasher can get obstructed by reasons similar to clogged sinks. Reasons include the build-up of food waste that is too large, or greasy/ sticky to harmlessly pass through the plumbing. Additionally, those who got a new garbage disposal recently should check to see if the drain plug cover has been removed correctly, as this can also restrict water/ liquid flow through the pipes.

  • Blocked Air Gap

Some people choose to install an air gap in their sinks to prevent back-flow. With time and frequent use, you might notice that your dishwasher is unable to drain. This might be because of the air gap that might be causing the water to back-up into the sink from the dishwasher.

Empty Dishwasher

How do you unclog a sink with a dishwasher?

As mentioned before, sinks and dishwashers are usually interconnected. Since the primary reason for such plumbing issues is usually an obstructed sink, your first move should be to work on unclogging it. Hopefully, this will solve your problem.

Here are some steps that you can take on how to unclog a sink physically:

  1. Power off the dishwasher and garbage disposal
  2. Use a flashlight to check the drain to understand where the obstruction lies
  3. Wear gloves before reaching in to remove the blockage
  4. Carefully remove the blockage.

Pro tip: Some say that prevention is a better cure, so it is always a good idea to avoid clogs by scraping off plates before putting them in the dishwasher. Doing so would help reduce waste accumulation in the drain hose.

How do you unclog a double sink with standing water?

Wondering how to unclog sinks? Having a double sink is not that different.

  1. Make sure you remove the standing water from the sinks
  2. Pour a cup of baking soda in the drain
  3. Pour the same amount of apple cider (or white) vinegar
  4. Wait till the bubbling of the baking soda and vinegar reaction stops
  5. Put on a drain plug and wait 15 minutes
  6. Allow hot water to pass through the kitchen sink, and observe if the obstruction is removed.

Hopefully, these quick steps will help solve your plumbing issue.

How do you fix a dishwasher backed up into the sink?

Sometimes an ill-positioned drain plug can make your dishwasher back-up into the sink. Wondering on how unclog sink, you can simply take out the drain plug, which will effortlessly fix your problem.

However, this might not always be the case. Often having a slow (or old) garbage disposal can be the cause of this issue. Since an older dishwasher drain was connected by a small inlet drain next to a garbage disposal, a clogged garbage disposal would flood the sink with water and affect the drainage. In this case your best bet would be to make sure that you clear out your garbage disposal.

Other ways to unclog kitchen plumbing

Here are some other things you can try out before making the call to a licensed plumber

  • Plunger Technique

Using the pressure made by an airtight plunger in water, can help you unclog a kitchen sink.

  • Disposal Suction Procedure

If your backed-up sink has a garbage disposal, you can clog the sink (on the side without the disposal) by pressing the plug firmly into place. then turn on the disposal, making sure to run boiling water down the disposal sink drain.

  • The Snake Technique

The snake method of clearing out a dishwasher drain is more complicated. Procure a cable auger (known as ‘snake’) and feed it into the dishwasher drain hose. The hooked end would snag on the obstruction which can be torn off and retrieved. This can cause water leaks from the dishwasher (and related) plumbing, which can be caught i a bucket.


What to do if your garbage disposal clogs frequently?

To prevent frequent blockages, you can grind up a handful of ice to ensure the blades of your garbage disposal stay sharp. You can also grind up lemons or pour in white vinegar to freshen up the insides.

How do you clear out a choked air gap in the kitchen sink?

Wondering how to unclog the sink with an air gap? Simply remove the top cover and the inner protective cap of the air gap, and check if the obstruction is removable.



Remember that you have the rights reserved for ensuring the running condition of your household. Efficient plumbing is key to run a happy home, thus it is always a good idea to keep an eye on the kitchen sink drain to ensure that the water goes where it is supposed to.

I hope this guide helps you deal with common water and plumbing household issues!

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